beet kvass. This is an update to that. In Nourishing Traditions, we are instructed not to chop up the beets too finely because we may end up with too much fermentation. Well, as you can read in my other beet kvass update (under 'Comments' in the beet kvass post linked to above), it takes a long time to get any effervescence in beet kvass, at least for me. I don't know if it's where I get my beets, (they're organic), or if for some reason, they have less sugar content than the ones Sally Fallon Morrell used in her recipe, but unless I go through a lot of waiting time, my coarsely chopped beets don't give me a fizzy kvass...not even a little.
Now according to Wardeh Harmon of GNOWFGLINS, (and if you haven't checked HER out, you should asap, because this God-loving young lady is the bomb as a traditional foods prep and cooking instructor), not having fizz doesn't necessarily mean the beverage is without nutrition. But we all know we love that bit of fizz on the tongue and it is a sign of some good things going on, namely lacto-fermentation.
Before we go on, let's redirect just a moment and focus in on this thing called 'lacto-fermentation'. What is it and why do we seek it? Lacto-fermentation actually increases the nutrients in our foods. It adds beneficial bacteria to our gut, and to top it all off, makes the food consumed more easily digested and used by the body. Remembering that this is, essentially, a blog about getting the most bang of nutrition we can from our food, all these reasons are great reasons to consider fermentation.
In the 'old days'...before freezers, before pressure cookers and water-bath canning, people preserved food via lacto-fermentation. Over at The Nourishing Cook, Kimi Harris tells us that recently, lacto-fermentation has gotten more attention because birds with Avian Bird Flu started recovering after being fed fermented kimchi and sauerkraut. Wow. (That last link will lead you to more info on lacto-fermentation, by the way.)
I believe it was Sarah Pope, of The Healthy Home Economist, (yet another over-the-top traditional foods- savvy chick), who suggested that man has an intrinsic knowledge that fermented foods are good for health. She surmises that this could be the reason we so enjoy carbonated sodas...they mimic the 'mouth effects' of fermented beverages/foods.
Now, I'm not going to go into the benefits of beet kvass in this post as you can get that information by clicking the 'beet kvass' link in the first paragraph, but I wanted to tell you of my most recent, successful experiment with it.
Even though we will drink our kvass 'fizzless', and I do trust that it's somewhat effective in that state, I prefer fizz, but I sure don't like having to wait a total of eight days to get it! So, since Mrs. Morrell said that finely cutting the beets can cause it to over-ferment, I thought, well, what if, I go ahead and finely, or at least, 'small-ly' cut them, and closely watch the ferment?
Because there has always been such a large difference in my kvass fermentation time and Mrs. Morrell's recipe time, I decided to take the plunge and 'small-ly' chop, (about 1/4 in. cubes and I'm not real particular about exactness here...a little more, some less...it's all good), and then check daily for fizz.
If you choose to use this method, when the fizz is there, keep it from going 'over the top' fermentation-wise, (we're not trying to make beet wine, after all), by putting the jar in the fridge...and remember my recent post about the swing top bottles? They are great for keeping the fizz fizzy and the beverage from further fermentation. Strain out the beets and start an immediate second ferment using them and a quarter cup of the already made kvass as a starter. It will be weaker, but still effective. (After the second use, the beets go in the compost pile.)
If not using the bottles, keeping the beets in the mason jar used to make the kvass is fine, just strain as you pour. The beets can be used to make a second ferment when there is only about a quarter cup of kvass left. (Use this instead of whey as your starter. Each batch of kvass made from now on can be started with kvass from the previous starter. If you ever forget and drink the kvass down to the last drop, just use whey again the next time as your starter.) If using the white plastic lids that have become so popular for mason jars, put plastic wrap or a small baggie over the opening of the jar before placing the lid on, as an extra measure of air-tightness.
Well, I got fizz. It took two days.
I made it just as the recipe said, only I chopped the beets much smaller than my original 'coarsely chopped', then sat the jar on top of my 'favorite' heating vent.
Only two days. Not eight. Two.
I've been making this stuff for two years and have just now gotten this bright idea.
But the truth is, I think God's been whispering the solution in my ear for a long time. I just didn't want to 'disobey' Mrs. Morrell, and doggone, it!...I got confused for the umpteenth-thousandth time between His voice and mine! (Ugh!)
Oh, silly, silly, me.